Monday, December 5, 2011

Sometimes, I go for walks in the mountains...

and most of the time, these walks are uneventful. But occasionally on walks of a more epic nature I have to resort to slightly unorthodox hiking techniques... like jamming my entire body into a rock crevice. (Photos are of my friend Steph, navigating the same section where I nearly killed myself.)

Picture hands frantically clutching, each freezing-cold fingertip desperately placed into a tiny fingertip-sized divot, knees both jammed into a narrow crack; even my face was smeared against the rock, hoping to find purchase. The route that made the most sense was covered in ice. I had committed to going up; trying to go down most likely meant falling and the odds of breaking a limb or two, or at least losing several crucial layers of skin, looked pretty high. I was stuck. After fighting down a rising sense of panic I stopped looking at where I'd land if I fell and instead launched myself up and over a bulge of rock, toes frantically slipping, hoping that my feet would find purchase somewhere and that my arms had enough strength left to to propel me upwards. Knowing that if I fell it would be... well, it would be awful. That much was certain. This may sound melodramatic for a mountain that is only 3,155 feet tall, but an ugly fall is an ugly fall, regardless of how tall the mountain.

Of course, since I'm sitting here writing this entry, obviously I made it (although I suppose I could be typing from a hospital bed in traction). Gasping from both the cold, adrenaline, and the fact that we literally ran up the final slope, we reached the summit and both agreed that the only thing we wanted to do now was get off the mountain as quickly and easily as possible. Forget the photos, screw the scenic loop. Before we left though, I sucked in huge gulps of frigid air and couldn't help laughing at my numb fingertips, bloodied knees, and the wind ripping away at my frozen face. Sometimes, I can't believe how lucky I am... not at escaping injury, but for living this kind of life. This was just another day at work. For me, a bad day at the office translates to a broken leg on top of a mountain. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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